Quality Conference

Drystone Workshop in the Orkney Islands

First and second year students from the Welsh School of Architecture took part in a one-week Drystone workshop on the island of Westray in the Orkney Islands in September 2007, organized by Mhairi McVicar and the Westray Heritage Trust. The students constructed two 'tangle dykes' - walls traditionally built on the island's shoreline used to dry seaweed 'tangles', and a 'boat noust'- a low flagstone structure used to haul a boat into as a protection from ever-present winds. Using flagstones collected from ruined tangle walls (donated by resident Tom Rendall), salvaged from ruined dwellings, or collected directly off the beach, the walls will be part of a new permanent heritage landscape exhibition connected to a new annex to the Westray Heritage Centre, designed by McVicar:Hong. The workshop was run with Jerry Wood of Westray, and, despite some challenging weather (constant wind and frequent rain), all participants persevered throughout the week on an extremely muddy site, and all walls were completed, culminating in a celebration at the local Mill with members of the Westray Heritage Centre and local residents. Planting of the landscaping will take place in Spring 2008, and the landscape and annex will open to the public in Spring 2008. The funds of 7500 required to run the workshop and construct the landscape were received from Awards for All Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Russell Trust, and Westray Community Council; a portion of these funds will be used to publish informational booklets and signage describing the landscape, designed by WSA students.

WSA students and staff participating were; Alexandra Brooke, Erioseto Hendranata, Madeline Kinderman, Mhairi McVicar, Mat North, Rob Stevens, Anthony Powis, Anna Soryal, Andrew Veness, Alex Whitcroft.